Originally posted in 2015
By Michelle Discavage
Brave. I find it easy to be brave when discussing a situation, when discussing dreams and goals. But when I am face to face with them, when the dreaming becomes a reality? Bravery is never readily found.
I have had this dream strolling through my mind for a while. Some may call it crazy, others may support it. But this dream? It has been stirring within me for longer than I care to admit. In two months, the dream I have pictured in my mind a dozen times, the dream I have discussed with only a select few, is going to become a reality.
Yes, I am scared. But I am going to do it anyway.
Why would I willingly choose such a frightening circumstance? It is what I do, it is what I am called to do.
Years ago I stood on a stage staring out at 600 plus faces. The stage seemed so large, and the lights were sure to magnify my thumping pulse. Just share your testimony they said. Sure I had shared it a multitude of times, in small groups, in face to face conversations. But that day I was asked to share with the entire camp, and I wanted to do well.
I had an outline, I knew what I would say. Throughout the day, I rehearsed it all in my head. Every time, it was effortless. Yet when I walked up to the microphone, the fear of fainting, of not being able to speak became a real issue. One deep breath, a quick prayer, and I began.
While I cannot recall everything I said that day, I do remember feeling like I was outside of myself. I remember feeling as if I were watching everything take place, like I was merely a spectator in the large crowd. Exiting the stage I was relieved, happy to have made it through, to have not passed out.
A few weeks later, at the third and final camp I would be serving at, I was asked to speak again. We want you to speak on Wednesday night, when many of our donors and board members will be here. We know you will do well. I smiled, encouraged by the honor they were giving me, and terrified of letting everyone down. Had I not known who would be in the audience that night, the burden would not have felt so heavy. I knew, I knew what was being entrusted to me, and I wanted to serve them well.
Much like the first time, I do not remember much of what was said. I remember feeling like I had rambled, and I questioned how coherent I sounded. On the verge of tears and wanting to run from the room, the president of the organization approached me. I feared hearing his disappointment, being told I let him down. Glancing uneasily at him, he began to speak. Thank you. I knew you were the right one to speak tonight. He smiled, shook my hand, and walked away.
No matter how many times I have looked out into crowds of people, the same nerves course through my body as they did twenty years ago. I doubt my ability, question what I have prepared to say, and wonder what I am doing there. But I am there, and I do speak. I love every nerve filled moment.
I will choose bravery over fear. I want my daughter to do the same. I remind myself it is not for the pats on the back or for the accolades I may receive. I will be brave to honor the One who has brought me here.
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)